5 fun and healthy lunch ideas

If a lack of lunch inspiration has you hitting up the nearest fast-food restaurant, try one these fun and healthy lunch ideas

5 fun and healthy lunch ideas

Source: Web exclusive, September 2011

Hi Sue! I am a teacher and need to make my lunch every day for school. I find myself going out to fast-food places because I do not have an inspiring lunch. Do you have any suggestions for my lunchtime issues? As well, I only have 20 minutes to eat, and three other lunches to make for my three little monkeys! – Sherrie Guthrie

Hi Sherrie, and thanks for your question! Fast-food is O.K. once in a while, but the fat, calories and sodium can really add up quickly. Here are five lunch ideas to try:

1. Leftovers
Cook a little extra dinner and pack up the leftovers for your lunch. Try our Vegetable Couscous or Meatball Mushroom Soup. Sometimes the meal even tastes better the next day!

2. Pasta salad
For my crew, I make a big bowl of pasta salad for everyone’s lunch, then I customize each one. My seven-year-old daughter loves hers with bits of baked chicken, cucumbers and carrots. For mine, I toss in some sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers to give it some grown-up flavour.

3. Finger foods
Try low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers, hummus on mini pitas or homemade guacamole with tortilla chips (my son’s fave). Pack in some other finger-friendly veggies like baby carrots and red pepper strips.

4. Lunch for Mom
Ask your kids to pack a lunch for you. There’s no way you’d ever trade that in for fast-food, right? Your junior chefs can help you put together an Avocado and Chicken Club Sandwich or mix up a batch of Apple Spice Muffins (the recipe makes a dozen, so everyone can take one for lunch). It’s a great teaching opportunity to get them thinking about healthy foods and develop their kitchen skills too.

5. Frozen entree
There are healthier choices available now. Look for a frozen meal that has less than 8 grams of fat per serving, less than 25 percent DV for sodium, at least 2 grams of fibre and at least one serving of vegetables. Round out the meal by packing a low-fat yogurt and a piece of fruit for dessert.

Sue Mah, the Best Health Challenge Eat Well expert, is a dietitian and daughter of a chef, and has a passion for good, wholesome food. She has appeared in over 100 media impressions across Canada, and is owner of Nutrition Solutions in Toronto.

Don’t miss out! Sign up for our free weekly newsletters and get nutritious recipes, healthy weight-loss tips, easy ways to stay in shape and all the health news you need, delivered straight to your inbox.